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The show must go on…TV! After announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Virginia International Tattoo performances due to the increasing threat of COVID-19, Virginia Arts Festival has joined with regional public media powerhouse WHRO to broadcast a special one hour edition of the 2016 Virginia International Tattoo on Friday, May 1, 2020 at 9:00 pm.

“We simply couldn’t let the year go by without celebrating the Virginia International Tattoo,” said Virginia Arts Festival Perry Artistic Director Robert W. Cross. “As we all weather this health crisis together, we hope that this broadcast will brighten lives, and remind us all of the mighty reserves of strength we share as a nation.”

Like other performing arts organizations around the region, the Virginia Arts Festival had to cancel the live performances of the Virginia International Tattoo.

WHRO Public Media President and Chief Executive Officer Bert Schmidt was eager to step in and help after the Festival made its Tattoo cancellation plans known. “I’ve been a fan of the Virginia International Tattoo for years, and WHRO has partnered with the Virginia Arts Festival in recent years to capture the show with cameras and create a broadcast version. Now more than ever, broadcasting the Virginia International Tattoo is an essential service that WHRO can provide our region.”

The hour-long broadcast captures the spectacular highlights of the 2016 Virginia International Tattoo performance—the 20th anniversary version of the annual show that draws tens of thousands of fans every year. The 2016 Tattoo was one of the most memorable in the show’s history, with its theme “A Time to Celebrate, A Time to Remember,” and its moving salute to those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The broadcast features a video tribute written by New York Times best-selling author and recipient of the Bronze Star for Valor, Joe Galloway, and narrated by General and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. The live performance included 1500 performers from around the world, including the internationally renowned Swiss drum corps Top Secret, a Dutch band on bicycles, world champion pipers from the Highlands of Scotland, a massed choir of epic proportions, and military bands from the U.S. Armed Forces as well as international military bands.

J. Scott Jackson, Virginia International Tattoo Producer/Director noted “Among the great “Tattoos” of the world, the Virginia International Tattoo has pride of place as one of the largest and most spectacular, and is the grandest of any such celebrations in the United States. While we are saddened by the need to cancel this year’s live performances, we are thankful to WHRO and our sponsors for enabling hundreds of thousands of people to experience the Virginia International Tattoo. And we are already hard at work putting together the elements of spectacular live performances, returning to Norfolk’s Scope Arena in April 2021.”

To watch the May 1, 2020 broadcast of the Virginia International Tattoo, tune in to WHRO TV at 9 pm. Consult your area TV/cable provider for channel details.

Follow Virginia International Tattoo on Facebook @VaTatt for “Turn on the Taps: Virtual Virginia International Tattoo Experience” starting Saturday, April 25 through Sunday May 3 with a highlight of the WHRO broadcast May 1.

The Virginia International Tattoo returns to Norfolk’s Scope Arena next year, April 15-18, 2021, visit vafest.org for more info.

About the Virginia Arts Festival

Since 1997, the Virginia Arts Festival has transformed the cultural scene in southeastern Virginia, presenting great performers from around the world to local audiences and making this historic, recreation-rich region a cultural destination for visitors from across the United States and around the world. The Festival has presented numerous U.S. and regional premieres, and regularly commissions new works of music, dance, and theater from some of today’s most influential composers, choreographers and playwrights. The Festival’s arts education programs reach tens of thousands of area schoolchildren each year through student matinees, in-school performances, artists’ residencies, master classes and demonstrations. For more information, visit vafest.org.

About the Virginia International Tattoo

Created in 1997, the Virginia International is today one of the largest and most spectacular of the world’s “tattoos”—live shows that have evolved from the military tradition of ceremonial music performed by massed bands. The Virginia International Tattoo has grown exponentially in size and popularity since its creation, drawing tens of thousands of passionate fans from throughout southeastern Virginia, across the United States, and around the world. Each year’s show is different, with new performers from across the globe and new themes of honor and patriotism. With its unmatched spectacle and heart-stirring emotion, the Virginia International Tattoo has broad appeal, and was named the Top U.S. Event of the Top 100 Events by the American Bus Association, one of the top travel organizations in the U.S.

About WHRO Public Media

Owned by 21 Eastern Virginia school divisions, WHRO Public Media also delivers online educational and new media services to 286,000 students and 25,000 educators per month. WHRO’s digital course offerings and resources including eMediaVA are available free to all: https://digitallearning.whro.org/. Since its founding in 1961 to support education, WHRO Public Media has employed creativity and technology to serve the residents of Eastern Virginia in its mission to educate, inform and entertain viewers and listeners of WHRO’s four public television and six public radio stations.

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